Sometimes it is wrong to pray. Does that sound sacrilegious? heretical? unbiblical? But it is the Bible that shows me that at times praying is the wrong thing to do.
Exodus 14:15 is my text. The situation is like this: God has humbled Pharaoh and Egypt with the ten plagues. God's people have been released from bondage. Moses has led the children of Israel toward the Promised Land and has camped at the shore of the Red Sea. However, Pharaoh has again hardened his heart and ordered his chariots and troops to bring the slaves back. Moses and the people are trapped between the sea and Pharaoh's army. The people cry out in fear. Moses urges them to be quiet, to stand still, and see the Lord fight for them (verses 13-14). But God rebukes Moses: "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward" (NASB). I love the way the Living Bible paraphrases the verse: "Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!" The Lord was telling Moses that right then was not the time to pray; it was the time to act.
Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, recently blogged about the necessity of taking action in addition to praying. He wrote that a person wanting to lose weight would need to do more than just pray about it. He or she would need to get up and exercise as well as cut back on the cookies and sodas. Other examples he gave of when prayer by itself would not be enough included when a marriage is in trouble, when someone wants to be a better parent, when finances are a mess, or when a person is struggling with a besetting sin. He goes on to encourage church leaders to not just pray but to confront issues in the church. He cites David facing Goliath: "David didn't just pray and God, through his prayer times, took Goliath out! Nope, David picked up five rocks, walked down into the valley, and handled business." (He is a much more colorful writer than I.) Noble concludes, "God did not just call us to PRAY about His will, but to PARTICIPATE in it" (emphasis his).
So when is it wrong to pray? when God tells us not to! When the Holy Spirit has spoken to our spirit that our prayer has been heard and that God is on the move. As David sought God about attacking the Philistines, the Lord told him to attack when he heard the sound of troops marching in the tops of the trees, because that would signify that He had gone out before them to give the victory.
I am convinced we do too many things without praying. But it is just as wrong to pray and pray and never do what the Lord has plainly told us to do. Henry Blackaby taught us that after our prayer time, we should be extra alert to see what the Lord is doing around us. Then we must take action to join Him in what He is doing. Let's pray, but let's also act. God is moving before us to bring the nations to Himself. Let's not miss it by staying on our knees too long.
The Purpose of This Blog
In response to the challenge by the Southern Baptist Convention that churches take on the task to share the gospel with unengaged unreached people groups, the missions team of Harmony Pittsburg Baptist Association felt the need for a way to focus prayer on the task. This blog is intended to facilitate prayer for those contemplating their role in fulfilling the Great Commission. This on-line prayer guide may prove useful to those exploring a call to missions involvement as well as to those who have sensed a call to pray for those who will go to the front lines.